Australian PM Warns Citizens World War with China is on the Cards
Scott Morrison says 'previously inconceivable' war with US and China now possible
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned Australian citizens that a "previously inconceivable" world war with China is now possible.
PM Morrison warns that war between the United States and China is becoming increasingly likely as tensions grow amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Morrison was speaking in response to an article by former leader Kevin Rudd.
On Tuesday, Rudd wrote that a "hot war" between the superpowers could break out for the first time since the Korean War ended in 1953.
Speaking during an interview with a US thinktank, the Aspen Institute, the prime minister said he would not use the phrase "hot war" but admitted that armed conflict is definitely possible.
"Our defence update expresses it differently and certainly not as dramatically as Kevin has," the PM said.
"But we have acknowledged that what was previously inconceivable and not considered even possible or likely in terms of those types of outcomes, is not considered in those contexts anymore," Morrison continued.
"So there has been a change, there has obviously been a change and I don't think that's terribly remarkable."
The region faces growing instability after a brutal border dispute between India and China in the Himalayan mountains that killed at least 20 soldiers and with ongoing Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Mr. Morrison also criticized China's use of "economic coercion" after Beijing banned Australian barley and some beef exports following Canberra's call for an investigation into the origins of coronavirus.
"Economic coercion is increasingly employed as a tool of statecraft," he said.
The prime minister called for China to "enhance regional and global stability" rather than focus on a "narrow, national, or aspirational interest.
"China and the United States have a special responsibility to uphold a common set of rules that build an international society," he said.
"That means respecting international law and the peaceful resolution of disputes including trade disputes.
"It means a commitment to rules-based economic interaction.
"Neither coercion of abdication from the international system is the way forward."
The government has said it will challenge China's ban on Australian barley via the World Trade Organisation.
Beijing and Canberra have been at loggerheads in recent weeks after Australia led global calls for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, which first surfaced in Wuhan late last year.
China retaliated by slapping an 80 percent tariff on Australian barley, suspending beef imports, and telling students and tourists not to travel Down Under in an apparent attempt to damage the Australian economy.
Last month the federal government announced it will spend $270billion over the next ten years on beefing up the Australian Defence Force with state-of-the-art equipment including long-range missiles and new artillery systems amid the strategic and political tensions.
On 19 June China was blamed for a massive cyber-attack on Australia amid an escalating feud between the two nations.
Later that month Australia launched six warships into the Indo-Pacific for training operations ahead of a huge show of force in the region with the US Navy.